Retaining walls


Retaining walls are often required on sloping sites to allow the construction of dwellings and other buildings. They can be constructed of timber, brick, concrete, rock or other materials and often need to support significant loads.

Prior to construction, you must apply for a building permit to construct:

  • a retaining wall one metre or over in height
  • a retaining wall less than one metre in height and closer to a building or boundary than the height of the retaining wall.

Example: if the retaining wall is to be 50cm in height and it is 30cm away from a building or property boundary a permit is required.

By obtaining a building permit from Council, you will ensure that your retaining wall is designed correctly to support the pressure of the soil it is retaining, and is capable of dispersing water build-up behind the wall.

Preparing your application

1. Complete a Building Permit Application form

2. Obtain a Copy of the Title (including any covenants and Section 173 agreements)

3. Prepare three copies of the proposed plans that show:

  • the location of any existing buildings on the property
  • the proposed locations of the retaining wall
  • details of the proposed construction methods and materials
  • evidence from a qualified engineer that shows the design is supported (only applies if the retaining wall is to be constructed of brick, masonry or concrete)
  • drainage points.

4. For some applications, you will also need to provide copies of:

  • Protection notices
  • Building cost
  • Builder’s registration details (if applicable)
  • Builder’s Warranty Insurance Certificate (if applicable)
  • Owner Builders Certificate of Consent (if applicable)
  • Copy of the Town Planning Permit with endorsed plans (if applicable).

To find out more, contact our Building department on (03) 5422 0333.